2016 has been a year of insanely tough losses for people of my age group (Gen-X, or thereabouts). David Bowie because he was an outsider who became the coolest guy on the planet, Gene Wilder because we were introduced to his comic genius through a beloved film adapation of a beloved novel, Prince, because Purple Rain, John Glenn because he was a real life version of the star man Bowie pretended to be so he could become the coolest guy on the planet...
Today, we lost Carrie Fisher, and that's tough. I love her because she played iconic roles in some of my favorite movies. Of course she was Princess Leia, the badass space damsel who didn't need help, she just needed someone to open the door... she'd take charge and rescue herself after that. Also the Mystery Woman who repeatedly tries to kill John Belushi in "The Blues Brothers". Her over-the-top violence as payback for being stood up at the altar is one of the most bizarre and hilarious running gags I can think of in film.
I love these movies and her performances in them, but I think what stood out to me the most about Carrie Fisher is her frankness and her honesty that she adopted in interviews and public speaking. This woman lived hard and had a lot of struggle, battling mental illness and drug addiction, and instead of hiding from those issues, she took them on publicly. She spoke of and wrote about her experiences with these demons in the hope that she could remove stigmas surrounding them and help people not feel troubled or ashamed by them and she gave hope to people with these afflictions that they could still live full and meaningful and creative lives.
This is why Carrie Fisher is going to be missed. She was famous and iconic, yes, but instead of resting on her fame and basking in the superficial benefits of it, she used her platform to incite a positive change. That's rare, that's ballsy, and that's why Carrie Fisher was an amazing person.
RIP Ms. Fisher.
The Force is strong with you.